Bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network told the court on Tuesday that it had $12 million in outstanding loans to Alameda Research, the trading arm of Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire.
That money — some of which is represented in locked SRM tokens held as collateral — is now likely wrapped up in Alameda’s own bankruptcy proceedings, adding another hurdle for Celsius’ creditors. It and some 130 other Bankman-Fried-related entities filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week after a bank run exposed a multibillion-dollar hole in FTX’s reserves.
Celsius’s new CEO, Chris Ferraro, said the company was much more at risk. In January 2020, for example, Celsius had a total exposure of $3.6 billion to the FTX group. But it reduced its exposure to $354 million just before its own bankruptcy filing earlier this year.
Celsius is the latest crypto firm to disclose its exposure to crypto exchange FTX and trader and market maker Alameda Research.
Ferraro told the court that Celsius’ ongoing loans were part of his post-bankruptcy income generation, although he admitted that the bankrupt crypto lender’s income is currently “obviously at a much lower level than ‘before the drop off, before the break.”
Ferraro also said Celsius generates a “moderate amount of top tier revenue” through staking deployments and its mining operations.
According to Ferraro, Celsius has 37,000 mining units currently hosted by Core Scientific. Celsius to would have defaulted to Core Scientific, which faces its own financial problems. Core Scientific has claimed Celsius owed him more than $5 million in unpaid invoices.
Despite Celsius’ apparent inability to pay Core Scientific, Ferraro told the court it was “incredibly strategic and important” for Celsius to continue building a mining facility in Midland, Texas. The Midland site currently has 3,000 mining rigs, according to Ferraro.
The judge asked Ferraro if the recent drop in bitcoin prices meant the fledgling Celsius mining operation was now losing money.
“From an operational standpoint, we have positive cash flow,” Ferraro told the judge. “Margins are compressed – it’s probably around 20%, where we are today, but you know, we have the ability to shut down the machines if they cost more to produce a bitcoin than the amount for which we can hit him.”